Injection 11

Alternating Currents: Injection 11, Ryan D. and Drew

Today, Ryan D. and Drew are discussing Injection 11, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: Returning after the Viv-centric Van Der Zee mystery arc, the inciting incident in Injection 11 — the discovery of a ring of stones in Cornwall featuring a flensed corpse at the center — is one of the seven unusual world events which Viv learned of at the end of issue ten, all of which sport the Injection’s dirty, complicated fingerprints. The last arc culminated with a large, almost full-cast denouement, and writer Warren Ellis focuses the start of this tale with the spotlight on the Irish lass and tech genius Brigid Roth. While I miss the rest of the team already — we’ve only seen Maria Kilbride via video chat and heard passing reference to Cunning Man/Breaker of Britain, Robert Morel — I think that the isolation of this chapter might play as a valuable counterpoint to the last’s ensemble sleuthiness. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 3/15/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Star Wars: Poe Dameron 12East of West 32Kill or Be Killed 7, and Sex Criminals 17. Also, we discussed Archie 18 on Monday, and we’ll be discussing American Gods: Shadows 1 on Tuesday, and Injection 11 on Wednesday so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading

Man-Thing 1

Today, Ryan M. and Ryan D. are discussing Man-Thing 1, originally released March 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan M: I read a lot of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books. At age 10, they struck the perfect balance between the somewhat goofy Goosebumps series and Christopher Pike’s darker take on teen horror. Horror is a genre that needs to offer an entry point that you can latch on to. In Fear Street books, the protagonist may not be perfect (I’m looking at you, cheating hero of The Boyfriend) but you are with them every step of the way as their world gets more and more terrifying. In Man Thing 1, Stine and artist German Peralta present their take on a man turned monster, but leave a hole in the center where a protagonist should be.

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Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 3/8/17

We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing All-New Wolverine 18, Captain America Steve Rogers, Old Man Logan 19, Power Man and Iron Fist 14, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 18 and Unbelievable Gwenpool 14. Also, we discussed IvX 6 on Thursday, and will be discussing Nova 4 on Monday and Man-Thing 1 and Silver Surfer 9 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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Royal City 1

Today, Ryan D. and Spencer are discussing Royal City 1, originally released March 1st, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: In my first weeks as an English major at college, I learned a lesson which, at the time, blew my mind: don’t trust the narrator. Most of what I’d read for high school or for pleasure until then featured omniscient or objective narration, so finally tackling novel’s like Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, wherein Chief Bromden casually mentions the walls oozing, or Nabokov’s Lolita, in which the main character very subjectively rationalizes his pederasty, really expanded my mind as to how an author could influence an audience and curate their reading experience. While I have come to expect writer and artist Jeff Lemire to throw down some tricks for a new title, the reveal at the end of Royal City 1 treated my brain to a lovely narrative twist which has my eye opened skeptically towards narrators all over again. Continue reading

Black Panther 11

Alternating Currents: Black Panther 11, Drew and Ryan D

Today, Drew and Ryan D. are discussing Black Panther 11, originally released February 22nd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Drew: Comics is a medium of juxtaposition. We derive meaning from seeing two images next to one another, understanding some causal link that only exists in our minds. The magic, then, is crafting those images such that the reader can piece together the causality in a natural, intuitive way. That includes both the content of the images and the arrangement of those images on the page, which is remarkably complex. Indeed, in his seminal Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud points out that arranging panels is so complex “that even seasoned pros will sometimes blow it.” While the clarity issues in Black Panther 11 have more to do with content than layouts, I feel this sentiment is particularly apt, as the issue was drawn by not just one, but a veritable army of seasoned artists. It’s odd to argue that this artistic team failed to make this issue clear, but I’m afraid that’s really the lynchpin upon which all of this issue’s problems turn. Continue reading

Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 2/22/17

marvel-roundup71We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Amazing Spider-Man 24, Deadpool the Duck 4, Extraordinary X-Men 19, Hulk 3, IvX 5 and Spider-Gwen 17. Also, we discussed Captain America: Steve Rogers 12 on Thursday, and will be discussing Spider-Woman 16 on Tuesday and Black Panther 11 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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The Wild Storm 1

wild-storm-1

Today, Ryan and Michael are discussing The Wild Storm 1, originally released February 15th, 2017.

When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty, but of her weirdness. They wanted her to change back into what she always had been. But she had wings.

Dean Jackson

Ryan D: Transformation stands as a long-enduring fascination for us, as humans. Sometimes, this includes our history with shapeshifting, which goes back to the oldest discovered forms of shamanism, or enduring texts like The Epic of Gilgamesh or The Iliad. The lore of werewolves alone originated way back to 22 A.D. Transformation seems to be ingrained in our collective unconscious, with the superhero genre and comic books to be a very receptive medium for the trope. What surprises me, however, is when the transformation hurts. I remember playing The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and seeing Link put on a transformative mask for the first time, and then being aghast as the little hero screamed in pain as he changed into a Deku Scrub. Another example: the scene in An American Werewolf in London when the protagonist howls in agony as he becomes lupine. The Wild Storm 1 brings to the pages many transformations for its characters, but is also a transformation unto itself — of an imprint and universe left in chrysalis form for six years and being born again. How well, then, have Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt coped with the growing pains with this first issue? Continue reading

Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 2/15/17

marvel-roundup70We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Captain America: Sam Wilson 19, Captain America: Steve Rogers 11, Clone Conspiracy 5, Deadpool 27, Doctor Strange 17, Invincible Iron Man 4, Old Man Logan 18, Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat 15, Silk 17, and Uncanny Inhumans 19. Also, we discussed The Ultimates 2 4 on Thursday, and will be discussing The Mighty Thor 16 on Tuesday and Daredevil 17 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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East of West 31

east-of-west-31Today, Patrick and Ryan D. are discussing East of West 31, originally released February 8th, 2017. As always this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: In our write-up of East of West 16, over two years ago, Drew made the observation that this series “is no fun, but it might be important.” I have long considered “no fun” to be one of the more damning criticisms of this series. For all of its interesting, impactful ideas and harsh truths about human nature and the corrupting influences of power, greed and faith, East of West seldom has an enjoyable narrative to buoy its grim headiness. I now believe this to be the point. With pages and pages of static boardroom scenes, we are meant to feel the excruciatingly dull banality of evil. Writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Nick Dragotta only allow their creation to be truly exciting when the good guys actively resist the powers oppressing them. Continue reading